Director Ali Abbas Zafar has turned film producer with Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday-starrer Khaali Peeli.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, the filmmaker talks about the decision to release Khaali Peeli on an OTT platform, and why he likes making ‘clean family films.’
Excerpts from the conversation:
You have made some of the biggest films which have been for the theater-going audience. How does it feel now that your first film as a producer is not releasing on the big screen?
I am not happy! I wanted the film to come in theaters. You have to understand that cinema is made for the big screen. When we started work on Khaali Peeli and Maqbool got the script, the idea was to work with young actors, but the vision was to make a quintessential Indian film which has songs, dance, emotion and comedy, and that’s what comes across in the teaser, trailer and songs. The idea was to take it to a big screen and then the whole Covid-19 situation happened.
While cinema is art and entertainment, it is also a big business proposition. The money that we invest has to roll back so that we can make more content in the future. We held on to the film for a really long time. Zee is a big studio. They have a big distribution wing. We had discussions with them. We had discussions with other people in the business, and we learnt that the situation right now with regards to the box office and theaters looks bleak. We don’t know when theaters will open, and even if they open, we don’t know to what capacity will they open.
Why did you decide to back Khaali Peeli?
Khaali Peeli is a full-on family entertainer. It is a clean family film. It is coming on a public holiday, so the whole family can sit together and watch this film. It is a simple story of how two people were separated due to destiny and how they meet. We have made sure that it is not a boring film.
You call Khaali Peeli a clean film. The films you have made, big or small, have always been ‘clean films.’ Why is that?
That’s because I believe that in India, cinema is a community-watching activity. We go to watch films with families. I don’t mean it in a regressive way, but when you come to watch a movie with your family, you should watch it with the value system that this country stands for. You should see how a hero and heroine is depicted. You should see to it that when families come to watch the film, it is full ‘paisa vasool’.
When you have a film ready for release, and when it is surrounded by different controversies, how does it affect the movie?
For any creative content, there are debates. The debates can be around the film, before the release or after the release. Finally, what actually will matter is how good is the film. Everything will end at that. If we have made a good film, even people who are against the film, people who have felt that there is some kind of bias, would change their opinions. However, if we have not made a good film, whatever they feel will solidify even more.
Khaali Peeli will start streaming on Zee Plex from October 2.
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